I love pelargoniums, especially the scented ones. I have had a collection for about five years now and at one time must have had about 15 scented varieties and over one hundred plants.

However, I have battled to keep them overwinter for the past two years and it has been a struggle to keep them alive. Even with heated radiators and beds the intense cold has put paid to virtually all of my plants, and raised the electricity bill to a ridiculous level. I have just spent this afternoon putting dead plants onto the compost.
My usual routine has been to take cuttings in August or September, reduce the size of the mother plant, and keep them all in the green house until spring.
When we had the most intense cold this year, I finally gave up, cut off the heating and brought a few of the tatty looking mother plants plus some cuttings into the house. They are now in my son’s room on a table near the window. Despite the intense cold that we had, a few pests survived and the warmth has brought out a lovely infestation of green fly – luckily my son no longer lives at home.

So, what to do next year? My daughter has successfully looked after a lovely specimen plant of ‘Orange Fizz’, one of my favourites, so I am hoping to fob off – oops, generously lend – a few other plants next year to overwinter in friend’s houses – the pelargoniums are virtually evergreen and make nice houseplants. I will also keep some of my main plants and overwinter them myself in the house and order a few in the spring to start off again.

It has been a sad lesson, but I have received two geranium catalogues in the last few days so, onwards and upwards and out with the Visa card!

Soon I’ll be writing about scented pelargoniums – good varieties, suppliers, and growing tips.